What is a “Transfer of Development Rights Program”?
The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act charged the Highlands Council with developing a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program for the Highlands Region and the seven Highlands counties.
The Highlands Council adopted the TDR Program as part of the Highlands Region Master Plan and established the Highlands Development Credit Bank (HDC Bank) in June 2008 in support of the TDR Program. The Council, along with the HDC Bank, is currently implementing the TDR Program throughout the seven Highlands Region counties.
This program serves as one mechanism to address some of the equity concerns of property owners in the Preservation Area that have been affected by implementation of the Highlands Act. Follow the links below to learn more.
Highlands Development Credits (HDCs) & HDC Bank
HDC Bank Board
Information for Property Owners
Information for Developers, Municipalities and Counties
Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is a land use tool that allows a community to use market forces to encourage the transfer of development potential from areas that the community wants to preserve (called sending zones) to areas that are more appropriate to accommodate increased growth (called receiving zones). Landowners in the sending zones receive compensation for restricting development on their property. As a market-based system, payment for this lost development potential comes from purchasers who buy credits representing the lost development potential in the sending zones. The credits then entitle the purchaser to build in a receiving zone at a density greater than that permitted in the underlying zoning.
TDR has become an increasingly important tool in the preservation of lands with sensitive resources, whether those resources are environmental, agricultural, or historical. In New Jersey, TDR programs have been established to preserve large contiguous parcels of farmland to maintain agricultural viability, such as the programs in Chesterfield and Lumberton Townships in Burlington County, while in the New Jersey Pinelands TDR is used to preserve tracts of ecologically important lands to maintain ecosystem health and high water quality.
Please see the following link for more information about the development of the Highlands TDR Program:
The Highlands TDR Program allocates TDR credits called Highlands Development Credits or HDCs to sending zone property owners. HDCs may be sold to developers for use in appropriate voluntary receiving zones. Use of HDCs by developers in established receiving zones will permit developers to increase the density or intensity of proposed projects in those zones. Under the Highlands Act, participation as a receiving zone is voluntary.
The HDC Bank performs several functions including recording and tracking all HDC activities and serving as a buyer and seller of HDCs. The HDC Bank is lead by a nine-member board of directors, and works in conjunction with the Highlands Council to implement the Highlands Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program.
The Tracking Sheet below contains information regarding all HDC allocation requests and any resulting transactions to-date. The Registry below summarizes all closed transactions.
Below is a current listing of HDC Bank Board members.
HDC Bank Board Chair
Bank Board Members
Owners of property in the Preservation Area of the Highlands Region may apply to the Highlands Council for an HDC Allocation and Certificate under the Highlands Council's TDR program. Certain property owners may be eligible to sell their HDCs to the HDC Bank. Additional information about HDC allocations, certificates, and purchases is available at the link below.
Developers interested in acquiring HDCs, along with municipalities or counties interested in becoming receiving zones, should contact the TDR Program Administrator at the Highlands Council by calling (908) 879-6737.
Funding is available for municipalities and counties to explore the possibility of becoming receiving zones. Additional information is available below.